outreach pictureEmail outreach is tough. At times, going through a list of email targets can be monotonous and frustrating. Lack of response and people simply not taking you up on your request are the two biggest causes of said frustration. Plus, the work can seem dull and impersonal if you let it be that way.

I had great success on my last outreach campaign. I contacted 31 bloggers. 25 have replied with a yes. 3 no. I’m still hoping to hear back from a few. I attribute the success of this campaign by carefully crafting my outreach list and because of my use of associated egobait.

Associated Egobait? What the hell is that? First, let’s start with good old-fashioned regular egobait.


How You Feel Reading EgobaitWhat is Egobait?


Egobait is a popular form of linkbait or clickbait. Essentially, it comes down to these main two techniques.

  1. Get other writers involved on your website (crowdsourced egobait).
  2. Write about someone else or their opinions in a flattering way (egobait flattery). Interviews can fall into this category.


crowd-sourcedCrowdsourced Egobait


In technique number one, you simply get a variety of authors to contribute to your blog post. Such as I did in this post. Not my greatest post, but guess what? It has received the most tweets and comments of any post that I have posted on this blog. Why? Because everyone nice enough to contribute also shared it on their social networks. Why did they share it? Because they were involved. They participated in it. Simple as that.

Some better examples of crowdsourced egobait include posts like:


Egobait Flattery


In technique number two, you create a post that praises someone else or their ideas. Complements all around. People love to share something that talks about how great they are or how great their company is.

Some examples of egobait flattery include:


Egobait Resources


If you’re looking for more information on egobait, I recommend you check out this nice post written by James Agate on Point Blank SEO. Also, I agree with Gaz’s opinion that the term and idea of egobait can sound pretty crappy.

Alright, but egobait is for content creation. This post is about outreach. Let’s get back on topic.


What is Associated Egobait?


Associated egobait is when you flatter a blogger through association with a more powerful and influential blogger. Comparing a blogger to one of their own personal favorite bloggers is a sure-fire way to flatter them.


How to Use Associated Egobait in Your Next Outreach Campaign


  1. Find Influencers You’ve Worked With in Past

  2. Reach out to the People They Influence

Find one of the most influential bloggers that you’ve worked with in the past. Someone who has reviewed or supported your product, service or website at one time. Ideally, find someone you worked with over 6 months ago. This has allowed them to significantly develop and grow their audience and gives you the appearance of being an old friend.


Associate Egobait Example


Let’s give a fictional example. Let’s say that Eppie Vojt decided he wants to get some SEO bloggers to review his fantastic tool Link Detective. Now imagine that a popular blogger like John Doherty reviewed this tool on his blog some months ago when it was new.

Eppie can now use the power of associated egobait to easily score reviews of his product. All he needs to do is this:

  1. Visit John’s Blog and see who is commenting on his most recent posts.
  2. Scrape the blog comment URLs.
  3. Prune the list for your own requirements (blog popularity, DA, whatever you like)
  4. Contact each blogger with a pitch like my example below. (For this example, we’re going to assume that I was among the recent commenters on John’s blog and that Eppie and I don’t know each other)


Hey Anthony,
My name is Eppie and I’m the creator of Link Detective. I found your blog from a recent comment on John Doherty’s blog and I wanted to reach out with a quick offer. First, if you are unfamiliar with Link Detective, I’ll share a few quick things about it.
    • It quickly analyzes a backlink profile and categorizes them into link types (blogroll, sidebar, comment, directory, etc)
    • There are both free and paid levels for users to enjoy
    • Makes quick and easy charts for you to share with clients
    • Easily filter links to help with link removal if you are dealing with a penalized site

Anyway, John’s been one of my favorite bloggers for quite some time and he reviewed Link Detective a while ago on his blog. Check out his review here.

I’d like to propose a similar offer to you. I’d like to let you try Link Detective out. If you enjoy it (or don’t enjoy it), I’m hoping you’ll decide to share it on your blog. There are no strings attached, I just thought you would be interested in the tool and would enjoy giving it a shot. If you do decide to write about it, I expect you to fully disclose that you got free access to the tool.
I hope to hear back from you soon.


Eppie Vojt


 Associated Egobait Psychology


Chart #1 Before:
Chart #2 After:


The Results


The blogger you email has two choices. They can say yes or no to your pitch.

They can take you up on your offer, cementing their newfound perception that chart two is actually the more accurate chart. In the process, some of their readers also may believe they are more awesome than they thought and this new chart becomes somewhat of a reality.

If they decline your offer, they will still feel a little better about their blog than they did in chart one, but they won’t be able to fully validate the perceived awesomeness/popularity they felt in chart two, at least not externally.

I’ve been using this technique for quite some time and have always had amazing results.




This is an extremely scalable form of outreach. If you look at the example outreach email above, you will see that it is not very personalized at all. The method of being found, the shared connection and the pitch will be the same for everyone. All that needs to be changed is the name in the opening line.

Create a nice sized outreach list of targets. You can get these sent off quickly and you will have a great response rate.

When that’s done, move on to another influencer you’ve worked with. Now target their influencers.

Rinse. Repeat.


What Types of Outreach Will This Work For?


My 80% success rate (and my example above) is from an outreach campaign pitching a free product to try. Free products always result in a better response rate. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use this technique for other forms of outreach.

  • Mashable posted this infographic and I think you should too.
  • Wil Reynolds linked to my post and I thought you might want to reference it in this post of yours as well.
  • Did you see my post that Rand tweeted? Perhaps it would be a good resource on your similar post.


Additional Tips


  • Use this technique with commenters on a blog, not with the blogs listed on their blog roll. People included on a blog roll already feel as if they are or are on the same level as the the original influencer you worked with.
  • This technique isn’t about tricking someone into reviewing your product or linking to your site. This is about increasing your chances of starting a mutually beneficial relationship between two sites.


The Premise is Simple


Establish a mutual connection with a popular blogger or website you’ve previously collaborated with. Pitch your offer to the people they influence. They will be flattered you asked.


Do you use this technique? How do you use it differently? Have any good egobait resources? Drop comments below.



16 Responses to How I Got an 80% Success Rate on My Latest Outreach Campaign

  1. Wow, so simple yet I would never have thought of this. Love to see down to earth content like this.

    Have you tried this approach for guest blog outreach? What kind of response rates have you seen?

    • Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Marc.

      I have not tried this with pitching a guest post, but assume it would work great. I think you have a great idea going here.

      Using the example above, let’s just pretend that Eppie had previously guest posted on John’s blog and then proceeds to contact me. I’m naturally going to think that “Eppie’s a great blogger. If his stuff is good enough for John’s blog, it’s definitely good enough for mine.”

  2. Anthony Pensabene says:

    Hey Anthony (I’m keeping you as #1 Anthony :) ). I really like your ideas. The only thing that doesn’t sit well with me, as Dyson addressed, is the notion of ‘ego bait.’ I don’t like it; makes me feel ‘icky.’ Relationships are important; and (IMO) should be give and take.

    I appreciate you linking to my interview with Winfield. I will be transparent in saying, to date, I’ve received the most traffic to that post, assuming Chris is well liked and his team have additional resources to spread the word. However, my impetus had nothing to do with traffic. I GENUINELY admire the dude and his team. That’s why I chose him (specifically) for the interview.

    I pretty much agree with all in your post, and don’t assume you misuse relations (I feel you and I have a mutually respectful relation). However, for any people reading, having a Eureka! moment, I urge them to be mindful of treating people with respect and being genuine. Don’t leverage egos for links, traffic, or attention. What is likely to happen is you may get some links and traffic; but, if you go about people wrong, that’s on your personality’s resume for life. Go about relationships naturally. If you do want to interview someone or build a relation, make sure it’s because you genuinely are interested.

    • Anthony- I agree with you completely. I agree so much, that I actually updated this post this morning to include an ‘Additional Tips’ section near the bottom that I think manages to explain exactly what you are getting at. In it, I wrote:

      “This technique isn’t about tricking someone into reviewing your product or linking to your site. This is about increasing your chances of starting a mutually beneficial relationship between two sites.”

      At this moment, most of the people who read my posts are pretty smart marketers and good people (the inbound crowd and my twitter followers). Sometimes, I leave out what I feel is obvious; don’t spam, trick, manipulate and instead do something authentic. I completely get what you are saying, and felt it possibly coming off that way as well, which is why I added the addition this morning.

      This tactic has lead to me forming a ton of great relationships. Ones that benefit both me and the person I am contacting.

      *Edited Add-on: Another thing I like about this technique is, you don’t even get to attempt to use it until you’ve created something of value. Something good enough to get an influencer to write about it in the first place.

  3. ahilliardm says:

    Thanks for the tip, Anthony! It’s great because in doing this you’re making the most out of the time you put into building relationships and having great content, by expanding your reach to others who value the same things.

    In a way it helps to hyper-focus your targets. This definitely makes sense. What is your typical response, or way of handling it when someone doesn’t respond? Do you follow-up with them? Do you wait until you have another opportunity that may benefit both parties?

    I would think it would be a good idea to continue to work to build that relationship, whether it be through social media, blog commenting, etc. After all, if it’s a relationship that would be mutually beneficial there is reason to pursue it, right?

    • Hi Annalisa,
      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

      I usually send a brief follow-up to everyone who doesn’t reply to their initial email pitch. About two weeks later, I’ll just reply to my own original send with a “Hi, have you had time to consider my offer?” type of email.

      Most of the time, the people who don’t reply the first time, respond positively to my second email. They usually give a “Yes! Thanks, I’ve been busy” type of response.

      I like the way you phrase it as ‘hyper-focusing’ the outreach. I think that fits quite nice. When I’m doing link building for SEO (rankings), I often think that getting a bunch of links from connected bloggers might be as valuable as getting a bunch of links from a bunch of random, miscellaneous bloggers.

      However, I know that gaining influence within a small community and establishing your brand presence can be extremely valuable. It’s true that I want links and rankings, but ultimately I want brand recognition and positive PR for the company I’m working for.

      And for continued relationship building, I absolutely follow every blogger on twitter that I reach out to. Outreach email + twitter follow are two great steps toward showing them that you are interested in what they have to say and want to form a long term relationship.

      • ahilliardm says:

        Thanks for the response. I think by hyper-focusing you can make the most of your time by building your SEO and brand (within a smaller community) at the same time. At least it’s a great place to start when you factor in the amount of time it takes to discover potential partnerships and the additional time to build the relationship :)

  4. Phill George says:

    Great piece on ego bait. It deinitely works wonders in increasing the response rate when trying to build links.

  5. […] you want to learn more about creating Egobait then I recommend this post by James Agate, this post from Anthony D Nelson and there is a great round up from Steve Morgan on Communitybait where you egobait a larger group […]

  6. […] Source: North Side SEO […]

  7. […] Ego-bait (and various types of it; here’s a good case study: How I Got an 80% Success Rate on My Latest Outreach Campaign) […]

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